Falana Asks Police to Apologise to Arrested June 12 Protesters

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has asked the Nigeria Police Force to apologise for violating the fundamental right of protesters to freedom of expression.

As Nigeria celebrated Democracy Day on Saturday, protesters stormed major cities nationwide to demand better governance and improved living conditions for citizens.
But the police fired tear gas at some of those protesting in Lagos, Abuja and Cross River State while others were arrested and later released.

Falana said in a statement yesterday that peaceful protests are fundamental rights of Nigerians as provided for in the 1999 constitution.
He, however, noted that the constitution was violated by the police who “banned rallies and protests throughout the country on June 12, 2021”.

He said: “For having the audacity to insist on their fundamental right to protest against unpopular policies of governments, teams of armed police personnel fired teargas to disperse the peaceful rallies. As if the unprovoked attack was not enough the Police brutalised and arrested scores of protesters in Lagos, Abuja and Calabar.

“Since the protesters who were arrested during the peaceful rallies did not commit any offence, they have since regained their liberty. But the Police Authorities ought to apologise for violating the fundamental right of the protesters to freedom of expression.

“More so that the police had deliberately contravened Section 83 (4) of the Police Establishment Act 2020 which provides that ‘Where a person or organization notifies the police of his or its intention to hold a public meeting, rally or procession on a public highway or such meetings in a place where the public has access to, the police officer responsible for the area where the meeting rally or procession will take place shall mobilize personnel to provide security cover for the meeting, rally or the procession.”

The senior lawyer commended the protesters for “conducting themselves in a peaceful manner” and condemned “the official lie that the protesters were teargassed to prevent hoodlums and miscreants from hijacking the peaceful rallies.”

“Why were the scanty pro-government protesters who were reported to have fought openly in Abuja over their booty not arrested for breach of the peace in the Federal Capital Territory?” he asked.
“The lessons of the unfortunate event of yesterday should be learnt by all sides of the debate on human freedom. The nation should henceforth be spared the periodic assaults on the civic space.”



June 12 Protest: Akure Roads, Streets Deserted

Streets in Akure, Ondo State capital were Saturday morning deserted sequel to the tension that gripped the people over threat of protest over the state of things in the country.

As at the time of filling this reports, markets and shops, remained shut while only few commercial vehicles were operating, cautiously.

Some youths were already gathering for the protest.

Details later….


June 12: Drama as Osun protesters disagree over venue

There was a mild drama in Osogbo after participants in the Democracy Day protest expressed a preference for different venues.

While a group of protesters said it would not be participating in a lecture organised by the Osun State Government in collaboration with the Civil Societies Coalition, others prefered to be part of the lecture.

During the heated debate, some of the protesters claimed that going to the lecture is a means to stop the ongoing protest.

However, others argued that it was better to continue the protest at the lecture venue.

The protest had started on a peaceful note as the participants moved from Oke Fia, Osogbo to Olaiya Area, chanting anti-oppression songs.

They also demand good governance in the country.

Division however surfaced in the ranks of the protesters, when some participants declined to go to an event centre where a lecture was billed to hold in commemoration of the day.

While some of the protesters chose to remain around the Oke Fia roundabout, others moved to the Lameco Area in continuation of the protest.

The PUNCH had reported that members of Osun Civil Societies Coalition joined by students under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students held a protest in Osogbo, Osun state capital in commemoration of June 12 Democracy Day.

The protest held under the watchful eyes of men of Amotekun Corps and police operatives started in Oke Fia Area of Osogbo as leaders of the groups took a turn to address the participants.

One of the conveners, Comrade Waheed Saka, lamented hardship ravaging the country under the current dispensation and demanded the resignation of the president, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).



June 12: Youths protest in Ibadan over insecurity, poverty

Youths on Saturday protested in Ibadan, Oyo State over the growing insecurity and poverty in Nigeria.

The protesters, who gathered at the popular Mokola roundabout in Ibadan for the June 12 rally, also held placards demanding an end to bad governance.

Police, army, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were present at the protest ground.

Among the inscriptions on the placards are ‘End impunity in Nigeria’, ‘No to fuel price hike’, and ‘We are tired of the killings, insecurity, terrorism, and poverty in the country.

The PUNCH reports that protests and rallies are also ongoing in Lagos, Ondo, Osun, Rivers, and Abuja.



June 12: Fight breaks out among #IStandWithBuhari protesters in Abuja

An internal tussle broke out on Saturday morning amongst members of the #IStandWithBuhari protest group at the Unity Fountain, Abuja.

Leaders of the group were seen in a heated exchange of words over the sharing of monetary resources meant for organising the counter protests.

This is as hundreds of pro-Buhari supporters have arrived at the Unity Fountain to air their solidarity to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The PUNCH had reported that there would be mass protests in various states across the country and in the diaspora on Saturday (today), in commemoration of Democracy Day.

Several digital flyers, widely circulated on social media on Friday, publicised meeting points in Lagos, Gombe, Calabar (Cross River), Yola (Adamawa), Bauchi, Abeokuta (Ogun), Yenagoa (Bayelsa), Port Harcourt (Rivers), Ibadan (Oyo), Ilorin (Kwara), Enugu, Akure (Ondo), Yobe, and Zaria (Kaduna).

The PUNCH also reported that security agencies, including the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the DSS, have deployed undercover agencies to prevent a breakdown of law and order during the June 12 protests.

Findings indicate that intelligence operatives have also infiltrated the various groups organising the nationwide rallies meant to call government attention to the deteriorating security situation in the country.

Sources who confided in Saturday PUNCH on Friday said all security agencies had been placed on red alert and directed to put down any violent protest in any part of the country.

Details later…



June 12: Police fire tear gas at protesters in Lagos

Men of the Lagos State Police Command on Saturday morning fired tear gas canisters at the protesters gathered at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Lagos, venue of the June 12 Democracy Day protest, The PUNCH reports.

The protesters were demanding an end to bad governance when they were tear-gassed by the security operatives.

Several digital flyers, widely circulated on social media on Friday, had publicised meeting points in Lagos, Gombe, Calabar (Cross River), Yola (Adamawa), Bauchi, Abeokuta (Ogun), Yenagoa (Bayelsa), Port Harcourt (Rivers), Ibadan (Oyo), Ilorin (Kwara), Enugu, Akure (Ondo), Yobe, and Zaria (Kaduna).

One poster by #RevolutionNow read, “Join the June 12 protest. No more poverty, hunger and insecurity in Nigeria… Enough Is Enough! Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.”

Another poster for a protest in Kaiserslautern, Germany read, “Buhari must go! Let’s come together to say no to government funding terrorism: Boko Haram terrorism and banditry, one litre of petrol equals N165, bad roads, poor hospitals, kidnapping, economic recession, police brutality, disregard for the rule of law, poor health sector, poor education.”

Similar flyers targeted at protesters in New York (US), Kaduna State and the Federal Capital Territory listed the same points but added, “N30,000 minimum wage, N13.5m senators’ salary, Nigeria is over N30tn in debt.”

One poster for a protest tagged ‘Buhari Must Go Party’ was aimed at supporters in London, United Kingdom. Similar ‘Buhari must go’ posters also targeted protesters in Toronto (Canada), Austin (Texas, USA), Calabar, Kebbi, and Lagos.

However, police commands in several states across the country, including Lagos, Bayelsa, Kogi, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Akwa Ibom, argued that they were unaware of any planned protest in their respective states. Some states, including Oyo and Kwara, embarked on a show of force on Friday.

They also promised to uphold law and order in the state amid plans of demonstrations circulating on social media.

But the Convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore, told Saturday PUNCH in a series of text messages that there was no legal backing for the security forces to deter protesters.

He said, “The Nigeria Police has no right to tell Nigerians not to participate in protests. It is an inalienable right. Our group will go ahead regardless of the obstacles. If the police decide to use unreasonable force, let it be known that the officers involved will be held responsible even after they retire.

“June 12 is about real democracy and free and fair elections; the Buhari regime reminds us all of the criminal annulment of democratic rule in 1993.”